Thomas Chatterton

(1752 - 1770 / Bristol / England)

The Tournament. An Interlude - Poem by Thomas Chatterton

THE Tournament begynnes; the hammerrs sounde;
The courserrs lysse about the mensuredd fielde;
The shemrynge armoure throws the sheene arounde;
Quayntyssed fons depictedd onn eche sheelde.
The feerie heaulmets, wythe the wreathes amielde ,
Supportes the rampynge lyoncell orr bear;
Wythe straunge depyctures , Nature maie nott yeelde,
Unseemelie to all orderr doe appere,
Yett yatte
Makes knowen thatt the phantasies unryghte.
of her joies,
Muste swythen goe to yeve the speeres around;
Wythe advantayle & borne I meynte emploie,
Who withoute mee woulde fall untoe the grounde.
Soe the tall oake the ivie twysteth rounde;
Soe the neshe flowerr grees ynne the woodeland shade.
The woride bie diffraunce ys ynne orderr founde;
Wydhoute unlikenesse nothynge could bee made.
As ynn the bowke nete alleyn cann bee donne,
Syke ynn the weal of kynde all thynges are partes of onne.

Herawde , bie heavenne these tylterrs staie too long.
Mie phantasie ys dyinge forr the fyghte.
The mynstrelles have begonne the thyrde warr songe,
Yett notte a speere of hemm hath grete mie syghte.
I feere there be ne manne wordhie mie myghte.
I lacke a Guid , a Wyllyamm to entylte.
To reine anente a fele embodiedd knyghte,
Ytt getts ne rennome gyff hys blodde bee spylte.
Bie heavenne & Marie ytt ys tyme they're here;
I lyche nott unthylle thus to wielde the speare.
Methynckes I heare yer slugghornes dynn fromm farre.
Ah! swythenn mie shielde & tyltynge launce bee bounde .
Eftsoones beheste mie Squyerr to the warre.

Thie valourous actes woulde meinte of menne astounde;
Harde bee yer shappe encontrynge thee ynn fyghte;
Anenst all menne thou berest to the grounde,
Lyche the hard hayle dothe the tall roshes pyghte .
As whanne the mornynge sonne ydronks the dew,
Syche dothe thie valourous actes drocke eche knyghte's hue.
The barganette ; yee mynstrelles tune the strynge,
Somme actyonn dyre of auntyante kynges now synge.
Wyllyamm, the Normannes floure botte Englondes thorne,
The manne whole myghte delievretie
oppe hys long strunge bowe and sheelide aborne
Behesteynge all hys hommageres to fyghte.
Goe, rouze the lyonn fromm hys hylted denne,
Lett thie floes drenche the blodde of anie thynge bott menne.
Ynn the treed forreste doe the knyghtes appere;
Wyllyamm wythe myghte hys bowe enyronn'd plies
Loude dynns the arrowe yn the wolfynn's eare;
Hee ryseth, battent roares, he panctes, hee dyes.
Forslagenn att thie feete lett wolvynns bee,
Lett thie floes drenche theyre blodde, bott do ne bredrenn slea.
Throwe the merke shade of twistynde trees hee rydes;
The flemed owlett flapps herr eve-speckte wynge;
The lordynge toade ynn all hys passes bides;
The berten neders att hymm darte the stynge;
Styll, slylle, hee passes onn, hys stede astrodde,
Nee hedes the daungerous waie gyff leadynge untoe bloodde.
The lyoncel, fromme sweltrie countries braughte,
Coucheynge binethe the sheltre of the brierr,
Att commyng dynn doth rayse hymselfe distraughte ,
He loketh wythe an eie of flames of fyre.
Goe, sticke the lyonn to hys hyltren denne,
Lette thie floes drenche the blood of anie thynge botte menn.
Wythe passent steppe the lyonn mov'th alonge;
Wyllyamm hys ironne-woven bowe hee bendes,
Wythe myghte alyche the roghlynge thonderr stronge;
The lyonn ynn a roare hys spryte foorthe sendes.
Goe, slea the lyonn yan hys blodde-steyn'd denne,
Botte bee thie takelle drie fromm blodde of odherr menne.
Swefte fromm the thyckett starks the stagge awaie;
The couraciers as swefte doe afterr flie.
Hee lepethe hie, hee stondes, hee kepes att baie,
Botte metes the arrowe, and eftsoones doth die.
Forslagen atte thie fote lette wylde beastes bee,
Lett thie floes drenche yer blodde, yett do ne bredrenn slee.
Wythe murtherr tyredd, hee sleynges hys bowe alyne
The stagge ys ouch'd wythe crownes of lillie flowerrs
Arounde theire heaulmes theie greene verte doe entwyne;
Joying and rev'lous ynn the grene wode bowerrs.
Forslagenn wyth thie floe lette wylde beastes bee,
Feeste thee upponne theire fleshe, doe ne thie bredrenn slee.
Nowe to the Tourneie ; who wylle fyrtse affraie ?
Nevylle, a baronne, bee yatte honnoure thyne.
I clayme the passage.
I contake thie waie.
Thenn there's mie gauntlette onn mie gaberdyne.
A leegefull challenge, knyghtes & champyonns dygne ,
A leegefull challenge, lette the slugghorne sounde.

Nevylle ys goeynge, manne and horse, toe grounde.

Loverdes, how doughtilie the tylterrs joyne!
Yee champyonnes, heere Symonne de Bourtonne fyghtes,
Onne he hathe quacedd assayle hymm, yee knyghtes.
I wylle anente hymm goe; mie squierr, mie shielde;
Orr onne orr odherr wyll doe myckle scethe
Before I doe departe the lissedd fielde,
Mieselfe orr Bourtonne hereupponn wyll blethe .
Mie shielde.
Comme onne, & sitte thie tylte-launce ethe ,
Whanne Bourtonn fyghtes, hee metes a doughtie foe.

Hee falleth; nowe bie heavenne thie woundes doe smethe ;
I feere mee, I have wroughte thee myckle woe .
Bourtonne hys seconde beereth to the feelde.
Comme onn, yee knyghtes, and wynn the honnour'd sheeld.
I take the challenge; squyre, mie launce and stede.
I, Bourtonne, take the gauntlette; forr mee staie.
Botte, gyff thou fyghteste mee, thou shalt have mede
Somme odherr I wylle champyonn toe affraie ;
Perchaunce fromme hemm I maie possess the daie,
Thenn I schalle bee a foemanne forr thie spere.
Herehawde, toe the bankes of Knyghtys saie,
De Berghamme wayteth forr a foemann heere.
Botte longe thou schalte ne tend ; I doe thee fie ,
Lyche forreying levynn , schalle mie tylte-launce flie.

Nowe, nowe, Syrr Knyghte, attoure thie beeveredd eyne,
I have borne downe, and efte doe gauntlette thee.
Swythenne begynne, and wrynn thie shappe orr myne;
Gyff thou dyscomfytte, ytt wylle dobblie bee.

Symonne de Bourtonne haveth borne downe three,
And bie the thyrd hathe honnoure of a fourthe.
Lett hymm bee sett asyde, tylle hee doth see
A tyltynge forr a knyghte of gentle wourthe.
Heere commethe straunge knyghtes; gyff corteous heie
Ytt welle beseies to yeve hemm ryghte of fraie .
Straungerrs wee be; and homblie doe wee clayme
The rennome ynn thys Tourneie forr to tylte;
Dherbie to proove fromm cravents owre goode name,
Bewrynnynge thatt wee gentile blodde have spylte.
Yee knyghtes of cortesie, these straungerrs, saie,
Bee you fulle wyllynge forr to yeve hemm fraie?
overthrowne. overthrowne.
Nowe bie Seyncte Marie, gyff onn all the fielde
Ycrasedd speres and helmetts bee besprente ,
Gyff everyche knyghte dydd houlde a piercedd sheeld,
Gyff all the feelde wythe champyonne blodde bee stente ,
Yett toe encounterr hymm I bee contente.
Annodherr launce, Marshalle, anodherr launce.
Albeytte hee wythe lowes of fyre ybrente ,
Yett Bourtonne woulde agenste hys val advance.
Fyve haveth fallenn downe anethe hys speere,
Botte hee schalle bee the next thatt falleth heere.
Bie thee, Seyncte Marie, and thy Sonne I sweare,
Thatt ynn whatte place yonn doughtie knyghte shall fall
Anethe the stronge push of mie straught out speere,
There schalle aryse a hallie chyrches wall;
The whyche, ynn honnoure, I wylle Marye calle,
Wythe pillars large, and spyre full hyghe and rounde.
And thys I faifullie wylle stonde to all,
Gyff yonderr straungerr falleth to the grounde
Straungerr, bee boune ; I champyonn you to warre.
Sounde, sounde the slughornes, to bee hearde fromm farre.

The Mornynge Tyltes now cease.
Bourtonne ys kynge.
Dysplaie the Englyshe bannorre onn the tente;
Rounde hymm, yee mynstrelles, songs of achments synge;
Yee Herawdes, getherr upp the speeres besprente ;
To Kynge of Tourney-tylte bee all knees bente,
Dames faire and gentle, forr youre loves hee foughte;
Forr you the longe tylte-launce, the swerde hee shente ;
Hee joustedd, alleine havynge you ynn thoughte.
Comm; mynstrelles, sound the strynge, goe onn eche syde,
Whylest hee untoe the Kynge ynn state doe ryde.
Whann Battayle, smethynge wythe new quickenn'd gore,
Bendynge wythe spoiles, and bloddie droppynge hedde,
Dydd the merke woode of ethe and rest explore,
Seekeynge to lie onn Pleasures downie bedde,
Pleasure, dauncyng fromm her wode,
Wreathedd wythe floures of aiglintine,
Fromm hys vysage washedd the bloud;
Hylte hys swerde and gaberdyne.
Wythe syke an eyne thee swotelie hymm dydd view,
Dydd soe ycorvenn everrie shape to joie,
Hys spryte dydd chaunge untoe anodherr hue,
Hys armes, ne spoyles, mote anie thoughts emploie.
All delyghtsomme and contente,
Fyre enshotynge fromm hys eyne,
Ynn hys arms hee dydd herr hente ,
Lyche the merk-plante doe entwyne.
So; gyff thou lovest Pleasure and herr trayne,
Onknowlachynge ynn whatt place herr to fynde,
Thys rule yspende , and ynn thie mynde retayne;
Seeke Honnoure fyrste, and Pleasaunce lies behynde.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010

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